Nike is doing a terrible disservice to people

  • Nike is doing a terrible disservice to people – particularly young, poor, minority people – by selling them sneakers via the con job fantasy that they should “sacrifice everything” and be the next LeBron James or Serena Williams. They can’t. The LeBron Jameses and the Serena Williamses of the world are one in a billion.
  • The Nike/Kaepernick thing falls into the category of “brand purpose,” in which brands try to represent social issues bigger than the products or services they sell.
  • “Online sales of Nike products grew 31 percent from Sunday, Sept. 2, through Tuesday, Sept. 4”  But, online sales represent less than 6% of Nike’s total (2017).
  • When you start with “what does the consumer want,” you end up with good products and services. When you start with “what do the marketers want,” you end up with brand purpose.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Let’s be honest here. The only reason that Nike launched the new ad featuring Kaepernick is to sell more product[/inlinetweet].  In doing so, they generated a lot of free advertising, but how many people are really going to go out and buy more sneakers?

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Now multiple outlets are reporting that Nike sales spiked after the ad online, but before the announcement, Nike had a net +69 favorable impression among consumers, it has now declined 34 points to +35 favorable.[/inlinetweet] Nike’s online sales only represent 6% of Nike’s total sales so can we at least wait until the end of their fiscal year to see if the campaign really met strategic brand objectives?

Some people, particularly those who teach marketing at business schools are clapping their hands at Nike’s new campaign, but those of us who have worked for consumer brands understand that while some campaigns may generate a spike in sales what really counts are sales at the end of the year.

There is a lot of bullshit about Millennial’s and purpose driven brands, but in the end what consumers really want is a good product at a good price.  Amazon and Apple are still rated as top brands even though Amazon pays employees slave wages and Apple stores money overseas to avoid paying taxes.

As I stated before, I believe good marketing campaigns unite people, not divide them.  No, I did not chose to be divided, but politicians have used the Nike campaign as a wedge to further divide us.  Purpose driven marketing is a guise to sell more products via more buzz, but then buzz doesn’t necessarily equal more sales.